Anti-fascists were out in Cambridge and Glasgow yesterday to confront far-right groups the FLA and SDL, with the latter getting ludicrously low turnouts.
Barely 60 people attended the SDL demo, ostensibly about grooming gangs, falling far short of even the 100-person limit which had been imposed by police. By contrast, according to a report from A Thousand Flowers, large numbers of counter-demonstrators, including mobile direct-confrontation groups, were present to shut the fascists down. They note:
With much of George Square closed off for works to build a stage for the upcoming European Championships, the Cenotaph separated a typically tepid Unite Against Fascism demonstration from the SDL’s designated area. The police, however, had likely not counted on there being sizeable groups of anti-fascists that remained outside of the ‘kettle’ and kept mobile. This resulted in the SDL being ambushed at their assembly point and pelted with smoke bombs, as well as later skirmishes around the city centre.
We’re not going to cry about the police coming down hard on the SDL, although experience shows it can just as easily be anti-fascists that they decide to target. But it is almost always a numbers game, which generally doesn’t favour the SDL.
In Cambridge meanwhile the Football Lads Alliance, which had called a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ march in the city, found its numbers dwindling to almost nothing (Cambridge News counted 30) as hooligans engaged in a static shouting match with a much larger group of around 400 counter-demonstrators, bolstered by a direct mobilisation form the RMT union.
The dramatic drop in support follows a trend of declining numbers for “let Tommy do what he wants regardless of the consequences” rallies, which after an initial boost from people attending over free speech concerns are increasingly degenerating into the usual seig-heiler suspects.
There was also a similar outcome in Worcester, where again around 30 EDL supporters protesting against the building of a mosque in the town were countered by several hundred anti-fascists. Three people were arrested for minor public order offences.